A lovely maker whose posts and content I love recently surveyed her Instagram audience about blogging, and more specifically about how to find things to blog about. Her question got me thinking because I used to ask myself the same question – I sometimes still do! – and after sharing my experience with her I realised that it would actually make a good blog post, so here we are! Continue reading
I remember how not that long ago I was obsessing over finding my style as an artist. It was always at the back of my head. Not only that but I was seeing so much great artwork online that I wanted to be like those artists that I felt were more successful than me (note the contradiction here: I wanted to find my style / I wanted to be like other artists).
I spent a lot of time looking at every piece of artwork I was creating and asking myself ‘Is this my style? Is this unique? Is this innovative?’
These questions were putting me under quite a lot of self-inflicted stress and often I felt like I didn’t know who I was as an artist.
In my personal life something similar was happening. When I became a freelance illustrator I was faced with the fact that I didn’t have to dress according to a specific dress code and where I should have felt freedom I felt confusion instead. I had been dressing for other people for so long that I didn’t know how to dress like me anymore. In fact I didn’t know what ‘me’ would wear.
So I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I didn’t know who I was as a person.
In a way this could have been overcome fairly quickly if I hadn’t been so darn stubborn about focusing on what I felt I should do instead of focusing on what I wanted to do.
One baby step at a time I progressively let go of the shoulds, both in my art career and in my personal life. I opened up to what I liked, what was making me happy, what was making me laugh and little by little I started doing more of that until it snowballed.
My art started becoming more like me when I started becoming more like me.
Recently I read that “all art is autobiographical” and I believe it is true.
About being unique and having a unique style, the title for today’s post is borrowed from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In that book (which I really recommend reading by the way) I read a quote that really struck me. It said: “[…] let’s not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people. You are something new in the world. Never before since the beginning of time, has there ever been anybody like you; and never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again.”
Man, this quote feels good every time I read it!
So much time spent worrying about wanting to have a unique style and here it is, and it had been there all along:
“You are something new in the world.”
So if you ever wonder what your artistic style is and how to find it, my advice to you is: make lots of art, draw the things that you want to draw, be yourself and it will soon become obvious to you what your style is.
Same if you wonder who you are as a person. Do things that make you happy, do things that make you laugh, do things that make you feel excited and you will soon find out who you are.
As long as you are not imitating somebody else and that you are being you, then you are unique and so is your artistic voice – yes I said voice. Because your style might be similar to someone else’s (and as long as you are not copying that’s okay by the way!) but your voice, well your voice is your own take on whatever you’re doing.
I will leave you with two things:
1) A quote from Kung Fu Panda 3 (this film franchise is full of pearls of wisdom!) where Po says: “Your real strength comes from being the best you you can be. Who are you? What are you good at? What makes you, you?”
2) I made this ‘What makes me me’ illustration a few months ago and I thought that it would be fun to fill in the boxes again every year or so to see what changes and what stays the same.
You can download and print a version of this illustration with empty boxes here.
(For personal use only, no commercial use. If you’d like to use this for commercial/non-personal use, contact me here.)
Have a lovely day and enjoy being yourself in life and in your art!
CARNEGIE, D., ‘Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You’, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. London: Vermilion – an imprint of Ebury Publishing, 1998, pp.168-176.
Here is an early May update on my 100 day project.
All in all, things went okay-ish until roughly day 16. What happened is that little by little drawing for the challenge started to feel like a chore and it started feeling like a lot of the things I had been drawing were all over the place and like it was going nowhere (or at least not somewhere I want to take my art right now).
I was clear from the start that the challenge wasn’t so much about what I drew or how well I drew than it was about pushing through and moving forward.
But when you feel unhappy, stressed, frustrated and you’re not enjoying what you’re doing anymore then it’s not really good, is it?
So I reassessed what I wanted to get out of this challenge and the best way to get there.
I’m not quitting the 100 day project just yet. But I would rather take my time and come up with a hundred illustrations that I like rather than ending up with a hundred illustrations that make me feel bitter.
Things change, and it’s okay.
These first 18 illustrations weren’t all bad though. They helped me figure some things out, like the style I am going to work in for my next ‘big’ personal project (it’s still a secret for now) for example. I also really enjoyed working with Posca pens and adding pencil texture to some of my illustrations. So probably things that we will see again at some point in future illustrations.
While I slowly get back to it, here are illustration 7 to 18!
I seem to be busy all the time these days and yet it wouldn’t be as ‘fun’ if I didn’t add an extra project to my plate, right?
Last Tuesday (3rd of April) saw the kick-off of the 2018 edition of the 100 Day Project, a challenge created by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. In their own words, the 100 Day Project is “a free, global art project that anyone can participate in”. The purpose of this challenge – because yes, it is a challenge after all – is to choose an action, to repeat it every day for 100 days, and to post it on Instagram. It is okay to miss a day. The goal is to keep going.
To be honest I don’t feel comfortable posting too much unfinished work on my Instagram grid anymore. I know, it may seem silly. But I am worried that it would ruin my efforts to try to create a more cohesive feel on there (it is still work in progress). And not only that. I also want to use this challenge as a way to have fun and experiment with different materials and possibly techniques too, and I don’t really want to include art that doesn’t look like me as it could send the wrong message.
After thinking about the pros and cons of taking on an extra project for a hundred days (it’s quite a long time!) and considering what I would do and where I would show it, I decided the following:
Really, I wanted to draw characters but I was worried – I do worry a lot! – that I wouldn’t always have the time. A face take a lot less time to draw than a full character so I decided that I would draw at the very least a face a day for a hundred days and a full character whenever I have time.
As for where I am going to show my work, well, I am going to post some of it on my Instagram account and what ‘doesn’t fit’ will be posted as an Instagram story. I will also post all my drawings on Facebook and Twitter so make sure to follow me there is you want a daily update, and will have a recap here on a regular basis (I haven’t decided yet whether that will be every week, every other week or monthly).
Wish me luck!
I can’t believe that 2017 is nearly over! I’m pretty sure I say this every year but there it is: this year has gone so freakin’ quickly!
Since it’s that time of year again, I took some time this afternoon to reflect on 2017 and set my goals for 2018.
I feel that this task was more difficult today than it has been in recent years.
One of the main reasons is that art-wise, 2017 was a bit of a confusing year. My illustration style evolved in a direction that is making me question where I want to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, it is super interesting and fun! But it threw me (as well as my previous goals) off balance and now I am trying to rethink everything I thought I knew.
I am also battling internally with ‘shoulds’ (those things that I feel I should do for x, y, z reason), ‘wants/don’t wants’ (the things that I want or don’t want to do) and an incredible portion of doubt.
I ended up writing a long list of questions. I guess I was hoping that I would get all the answers by end of day today but that didn’t happen (cough – obviously – cough).
My hope for the new year is that it brings me a new compass that will help me navigate the confusing waters so that I can set sail towards some exciting new worlds and hidden treasures (yo ho!).
One of the great things about being a creative is undoubtedly the fact that I get to meet and hang out with a lot of other creative people.
And once in a while I get to collaborate on some exciting and extraordinary projects.
Boy, if you’d told me that one day I would get to be in a video game I’m not sure I would have believed you.
And yet it happened!
As per a recent post on my Instagram I wanted to come back on some of the reasons why I became an illustrator in the first place.
I love to draw, that’s a fact.
But loving to draw doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to draw professionally. If it had been just about loving to draw I could have carried on what I was doing before and drawn in my free time like I have been doing – like – forever.
No. I became an illustrator because I love to draw AND because I want to move people with my art.
I want to make you smile, I want to make you laugh, I want to give you a short mental break from your daily life.
And I want to be one of those people who sets an example and inspires you to follow whatever path you choose because everything is possible.
“You can do anything you set your mind to.” (Benjamin Franklin)
So be free! And have a lovely Friday!